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    Sunday, March 21, 2021

    The SmackDown BreakDown (3/19/21): Gaining Its Edge

    Ten years ago, I was a struggling college student trying to make sense of the world. Ten years ago, Edge was forced to retire due to several neck injuries. One of us has a great future ahead of us, and I think we now know who that someone is. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the SmackDown BreakDown.

    You can describe this week's episode of SmackDown in two ways. You can view it either as a celebration of Edge's illustrious career or a comeback of sorts after weeks of dud outings. Let's focus first on the fact that this episode lovingly paid tribute to Edge's best SmackDown moments. I completely forgot about him winning the tag titles with Hulk Hogan and his second MITB cash-in against The Undertaker, but his farewell speech in 2011 was a moment that always gets me straight in the heart. And now he's here! 

    Edge competing in his first TV match gave SmackDown the push they needed to get out of the rough patch they've been stuck on for weeks. Sure, the main event still involved Jey Uso in some capacity, but at least he now had a different opponent so it was still a fresh closer. Also, they didn't really have to go all out with that match. While I appreciate the effort, there was no need to dip into Edge's supposed budget of only five matches a year for this. Hopefully, Edge didn't injure his ribs during the match. The welts he received looked a bit nasty. 

    The post-match assault was also perfection. It's been a while since I've seen Roman Reigns actually assert his dominance. And when Daniel Bryan gave himself brownie points again by giving Reigns less lines to work on, I thought I would be robbed of my evil Reigns moment for the third straight week. How can they sell the illusion that the Tribal Chief is the ruler of the land when you give him less airtime? He should really just dominate everyone on a weekly basis; screw throwing a bone to the good guys once in a while. 

    I also loved how they tried to fix the way they're writing Edge as a character. Finally, Edge is recognizing the fact that he would do what Daniel Bryan did last week if it was him. See, that wasn't too bad? Sure, he was talking about getting kneed in the face instead of earning yourself a title match, but hey, the sooner we move on from that storyline hiccup, the better. He even said he wants Bryan to have a fair shake at Fastlane, which is why he wanted to be the enforcer. That's a cliché babyface move I can get behind.

    Edge making his in-ring return to SmackDown was great and all, but my favorite part of the episode was the match no one wanted to see: Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin. They perfectly set it up with Sami inviting Kevin Owens at ringside and then they hit us with an epic video package de-hyping the match out of nowhere. Bro, that sarcastic narrator was fire! "The irritating force meets the unlikable object?" Who came up with this and where can I learn your sage writing wisdom? And that's just the half of it, really.

    True enough, this match was nothing so I'm glad it was a short one. Of course, Sami Zayn lost, but the post-match happenings were what made this segment perfect. A vicious Helluva Kick targeting the nape of KO sealed the deal for these two to eventually start feuding again. Who knew this silly encounter would set up Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for WrestleMania? Sami's documentary arc has finally reached its climax, and who better to make him "open his eyes" than his pissed off former best friend?

    Even the women of SmackDown brought their A-game this week, starting with an actually watchable Nia Jax. Sasha Banks can literally make anyone look like a billion bucks, thanks to her appetite for punishment. The diverse moves Nia dished out during this fun opener were only possible because she had Sasha's ragdoll selling to work with. Who knew they could create drama without the help of an interrupting Reginald? A semi-intentional kick from Shayna Baszler was enough to provide the tension for Fastlane.

    And when it was Shayna Baszler and Bianca Belair's time to square off, we all thought it was going to end with Bianca Belair somehow standing tall in the end. But boom! Tamina and Natalya stormed the ring and took out both Shayna and Bianca. They even gave Tamina the appropriate badassery her new character requires by dealing the final blow to the Royal Rumble winner. That's a freaking huge fix right there. Talk about subverting expectations just to boost hype for a tag team that's not even booked for Fastlane. Bravo!

    THE FINAL BREAKDOWN: It's all about Edge this week, and I can't be happier that SmackDown is finally gaining its edge back, pun definitely intended. Who knew giving Edge his first TV match in years plus a few tweaks here and there could fix all my complaints from the previous weeks? This may be the go-home show for Fastlane, but this week's episode focused more on the WrestleMania implications. SmackDown did a great job bouncing back like I know they would.

    Show Grade: B+

    BreakDown Thoughts That Cost Nia Jax Her Match

    • Big E and Apollo Crews made their split-screen interview work by bringing in rage and passion to their promos and actually brawling right after. It's so satisfying to see a proper villain get his ass whooped by the conquering hero. This segment was awesome! 
    • I also enjoyed the way they showcased the tag team division. Instead of booking them in yet another lazy multi-man tag, they had the Street Profits losing for the first time in weeks, Alpha Academy picking up yet another major win, and the Dirty Dawgz being proper assholes at commentary. The MVP had to be Dominik Mysterio for picking up the win for his team and taking a massive Otis Bomb right after.
    • Do we really need a refresher on what caused the rift between Seth Rollins and Cesaro? I know I said I didn't care what their storyline's going to be, I just can't help but notice how Seth's promos the past few weeks are kind of the same. Also, this is me accepting the fact that Shinsuke Nakamura must fall at Fastlane to let Cesaro soar at WrestleMania. I'm finally okay with it. At least we're getting an amazing Rollins vs. Nakamura rematch out of it.

    Header image taken from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's resident main roster reviewer...  for better or worse. A known lover of tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's anxious about the future, now more than ever. LET HIM IN 

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    Item Reviewed: The SmackDown BreakDown (3/19/21): Gaining Its Edge Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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